Gaius Publius: Democrats Laying Their Own Bonfire

Yves here. To the points that Gaius makes, we can add the pathetic performance of Team Dem over the shutdown. From the Financial Times:

“This was a winnable battle, and we lost it,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

“The Republicans are very good at casting this debate as being about illegal immigration and Democrats were not willing to own that this was at its core around the Dreamers and to define the Republican position as hurting kids and tearing apart families . . . They got spooked,” Mr Green said.

“The Trump people were clearly thinking about their messaging in advance and preparing ads in advance and there was almost no [Democratic] co-ordination with outside groups and no air cover by Democratic strategists,” he said.

You can debate the merits of whether this battle was the right one to engage. But the fact that the Democrats did so in such a cack-handed manner shows that they weren’t serious, no doubt because this was mainly virtue-signalling, as opposed to an important issue for their top 10% base.

By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. GP article archive  here. Originally published at DownWithTyranny

 A meme from the “Sanders or Bust” camp after the primary.

I want to keep this short because it’s really simple (emphasis mine throughout).

Stuff like this

Taking Short Break From Denouncing Trump Authoritarianism, House Dems Join With GOP to ‘Violate the Privacy Rights of Everyone in United States’

Democratic leadership in the House—who say that Trump is currently abusing his power to go after his political enemies—just helped him pass dangerous domestic surveillance powers.

…explained here

45 Republicans looked at the stinky FISA bill on Thursday and could not pull themselves to vote YES. That means that had Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn held their caucus together, it could have been defeated. Instead, it passed 256-164. How the hell did that happen? Well, start with Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn; they all voted for it. In fact 65 Democrats did– basically the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, pretty much all the Blue Dogs and all the New Dems and their fellow travelers. 119 Democrats voted NO and 65 voted with the GOP. All the garbage Dems were over on the other side of the aisle as fast as they could get there[.]

…as well as stuff like this

If Democrats Want the Support of Millennials, They Should Cut Ties with the Fossil Fuel Industry

…Oil and gas executives strive to maintain company profits, which means holding back this very transition [to 100% renewables]. They are adept at using their deep pockets to pressure politicians into carrying out their pro-fossil-fuels agenda. If Democratic candidates choose to let Big Oil ride the Blue Wave this year, the prospects for action at the scale we need are grim. partnering with these oil and gas executives would not only be disastrous for our society’s ability to stop climate change, it would also be deadly for millennial voter turnout.

…produces anger like this

I Promise To Sabotage The 2020 Campaign Of Any Establishment Democrat

If the Democratic party tries to run a pro-establishment presidential candidate in 2020, I, Caitlin Johnstone, promise unequivocally and unconditionally that I will do every single thing in my power to sabotage their candidacy and make them lose the election. … I don’t care if it’s a transgender Muslim eskimo with a Senate seat and their own talk show — I will do my very best to ruin them, and I will do my very best to recruit others like me to help….

[I]f the Democratic party doesn’t run a very solid anti-war, pro-environment, pro-economic justice candidate in the next presidential election, there is at least one very loud voice out here who will relentlessly dedicate all available resources to making sure that it hurts. I will find every scrap of dirt I can find to help ruin your campaign. I will throw my support behind a third party candidate. I will shamelessly collaborate with conservatives. Everything legal and truthful that I can do to bring you down, I will do. You cannot manipulate me onto any other path. I will not compromise, and I will not stop. You have my most solemn word on that.

She closes, “America has become the central nesting space for an unelected power establishment which is threatening the existence of our entire species with ecocidal neoliberal policies and a neoconservative new cold war, and the Democratic establishment has been actively facilitating both. … The only way to get change is to force it, and the only way to force it is to make enforceable threats.

A plus B results in C. The eager screwing of Sanders (A), plus the eager and cynical Party self-branding as complicit faux-resisters (B), produces the happy-to-sabotage anger of people like Johnstone (C).

Make no mistake. In the world of the betrayed, she is not alone. Some may not sabotage, as she will do. Some may just stay home — with pleasure. This is the fire the Party is playing with.

Is the Democratic Leaders’ “Resistance” Entirely Cynical?

Is Democratic leaders’ “resistance” entirely cynical, or only partially cynical? Let’s consider: If Trump is indeed a blackmailed agent of Russia, as Nancy Pelosi, surely speaking for Democratic congressional leadership, seems to think, why on earth is Nancy Pelosi handing Trump (and Putin) expanded surveillance powers, as she absolutely did, as did such noted Heroes of the Resistance as MSNBC regulars Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell.

Again: “Democratic leadership in the House—who say that Trump is currently abusing his power to go after his political enemies—just helped him pass dangerous domestic surveillance powers.”

As Johnstone writes elsewhere: “This same president who Democratic representatives like Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell have been loudly claiming is a treasonous Russian agent has been granted uninhibited surveillance powers by both Schiff and Swalwell, as well as House opposition leader Nancy Pelosi. They do not believe that Trump is a Kremlin asset, and they do not oppose him.”

What should a sane and thinking person make of that, other than the obvious — that when it comes to their own claims that Trump is a Russian agent, no one in Democratic leadership believes a word of it.

The Fire Next Time

We may be headed for a national crackup of epic proportions thanks to current Democratic leadership. The next electoral opportunity for the failed electoral revolt of 2016 to succeed is the congressional election of 2018, yet Democratic leaders seem determined to turn one more wave opportunity into another squeaker, just as they did in 2016.

To be clear, all of the anger exemplified above comes from potential Democratic voters — the next wave, if you will, of what would have been their new base — a group of voters now so disgusted with both parties that they may well stay home in droves for most of a generation. Having watched the Democrats casually and deliberately screw over Sanders, then crow about their win (“not a Democrat; not one of us; deserves what he got”); having watched Democrats, timeand again, prove they’ve not changed at all — many of these potential voters have settled in neither camp, hating both and trusting no one at all, save maybe Sanders.

In fact, many of these voters are solidly in the impossible-to-achieve we-want-a-third-party camp. Both mainstream parties, of course, have solidly closed that door.

A Progressive Leadership Coup, or More of the Same?

So much for the wave election of 2018, if these voters have their way. Democrats may still win Congress back, but it won’t be in a wave. And lord knows what their complicit-with-Republicans leadership will field in 2020 as a presidential choice. Another neoliberal with the right identity credentials and a superficial, “populist” cover story? Or a true hero of the people — for once?

Unless current progressives in Congress stage an actual coup, replacing those leaders with their own, we’re almost certain to see a series of 2016 reruns. Until enough of the nation loses patience, of course, and stages a real revolt — a situation no one will enjoy.

In 2016, Democratic leaders’ hubris guaranteed a squeaker. So too it will in 2018, and barring the coup imagined above, in 2020 as well. For independent voters who are not tribally loyal to Team Blue, it’s just that hard to like them.

Will I be proved wrong? Will the Democrats field so many unpalatable mainstreamers that no one will want them? We’ll know in just a few months, and 2020 is just around the corner.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Another opportunity totally blown away. Another defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. You can always count on the Democrats here. If they had stood their ground and perhaps won, it might have started a roll and fired up the membership between now and the mid-terms. Put the Republicans and Trump on the back foot. Get people motivated. And then they folded like a cheap lawn-deck chair. They did a mini-deal and kicked that can down the road. Last I heard, this was the eighteenth Governmental shut-down ( over the past forty years so both sides must be used to it by now and know the drill.
    I keep wondering how they can keep on doing the dirty on their base. I mean, after all, they have a membership of about 44 million people and in the last election they had about 65 million people vote for them. I think that I have a handle on it now. The Democrats are not going against their base but are voting the way their base wants. The difficulty here is the word ‘base’ but if you forget the conventional explanation that the base is the people that, you know, actually support them but is instead the people that give them money, then all difficulties disappear. Sort of like an Occam’s Razor. The Democratic base is their donors and that is who they must serve.
    So if the Dreamers legislation did not go through, it is because the Democratic base (the donors) did not want it to. It could be that it was not in their financial interests to see it done but they seems a bit tenuous. The only explanation that comes to mind is that the donors do not want the Democrats to get on a winning roll and start a winning streak. Why should they? They are getting everything they want under a Trump administration! First year and the got the Tax Bill. What will they get the next three years? Why rock that particular gravy train. Cynical, I know, but I suspect that it contains more than a grain of truth.

    1. Quanka

      Or — the donors aren’t actually liberal/leftist. I know the two terms are NOT interchangeable but that’s65 not my point here. The donor class likes to think of themselves as liberal, but if they don’t actually support liberal policies than its just a name. They don’t support universal health care, raising the minimum wage, they are pro-war … so they are not liberal. They just bought out the “liberal” party and they like the way it feels when they wear the label.

      1. Eureka Springs

        They don’t support universal health care, raising the minimum wage, they are pro-war … so they are not liberal.

        Actually it is liberal. Some call it neoliberal, but they are one and the same in practice for at least the last four decades running. Might as well call it progressive too, for this is where progressives make their bed (in the liberal mcmansion) every single day.

      2. HideNwatch

        Republicans figured out in the late 70s/early 80s that it’s easier to just BUY the Democratic party than fight against it.

        Their results have been spectacularly successful.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And in the 90’s and beyond, Democrats figured out it was easier to just SELL the Democratic party than fight for it.

          “Finally, a tango couple.”

    2. xp

      I’ve been a lifelong dem, I keep wondering why the party is more interested in taking care of dreamers rather than the US’ own citizenry. I think it is outrageous that the dem party is wasting so much time using the DACA for posturing.

      Further, the dems voted against the original resolution that included a 6-year extension of CHIP! The dems did not later “cave” in voting for the 2nd resolution; they did the only thing they could to save their hides for supporting a relatively small group of illegals over 9 million children using CHIP.

        1. Arizona Slim

          And here in the AZ, I know quite a few people who came here from Mexico.

          Or they’re descended from such people. Matter of fact, there goes one now, right by my desk. His parents hail from a very humble village in Mexico.

          Any-hoo, my Hispanic friends and colleagues aren’t all Democrats. Not by a longshot. One of my best friends, a lady who came from Mexico and knew exactly one word of English, is a staunch Republican.

          So, if the Ds think that this is a way to woo Hispanic voters, they are sadly mistaken.

      1. JohnMinMN

        For a “lifelong dem”, you sure do a good job of using republican framing. From Adam Green’s quote at the top of this post:
        “The Republicans are very good at casting this debate as being about illegal immigration and Democrats were not willing to own that this was at its core around the Dreamers and to define the Republican position as hurting kids and tearing apart families . . . They got spooked,” Mr Green said.

    3. Bulldog

      And then they folded like a cheap lawn-deck chair

      Schumer’s fold kind of reminds me of Boehner’s folds during the Obama Administrations. SSDD…

      The only explanation that comes to mind is that the donors do not want the Democrats to get on a winning roll and start a winning streak. Why should they?

      Even more cynically, one could posit that they should bide their time until those with the power crash the economy to punish Trump and the electorate. Then they’ll be flush with funding ready to pounce with blood on the streets to take over policy like never before in this country.

  2. Lambert Strether

    In retrospect, I wish the Sanders camp had physically occupied DNC space after Obama’s lackey Perez purged them all from the Rules and Bylaws Committee. Maybe they think the list and a million viewers on Medicare for All is enough. I’m not so sure. They also have to get the attention of Democrat cadres. Only one way, really, to do that…

    1. Jen

      Bernie is putting his list to work, and if he’s successful, the Democrats may take notice. He sent out an email on Monday, stating, among other things:

      1) First, I am committing to travel the country in support of progressives running up and down the ballot.
      2)Second, as we work to create Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, I will be giving special focus to a core group of up-and-coming progressive candidates at the national and state level.
      3) Finally, I am excited to announce that we will be reactivating the distributed organizing network that was at the heart of our grassroots success in 2015/2016.

      Compare this to:

      A sample:

      “If money isn’t necessarily the best path to victory, that smart Washington-based operatives continue to make it the key variable regardless raises the question of what other motivations may be in play. For Lynch, the answer is simple: It’s a racket. “The Democratic and Republican parties are commercial enterprises and they’re very much interested in their own survival,” Lynch said. “The money race is probably more important to them than the issues race in some cases.”

      The Intercept asked Lynch if the commercialization he referred to was for the benefit of the officials working in and around elections. “How much of the focus on fundraising,” we asked, “has to do with pumping money into this ecosystem of consultants and everybody else?”

      “That’s what I mean,” Lynch said. “It’s a commercial enterprise.”

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        combine this, and all you said(Jen) with the Gods and Radicals article Lambert has been linking, and with the Streek essay,plus the Grim and Fang article in the Intercept, and we’ve got a great big honking problem on our hands.
        The Parties are not parties. They are monopoly bidness…like pro- football mixed with the Joel Osteen style evangelism.
        we paint ourselves all over and go yell in the freezing rain, while the Owners sit in the sky box and eat live children like oysters and sneer at us yokels who make it all possible.
        while I fully expect that the Machine will eventually fall apart under it’s own absurdity and contradiction …at some point…and that this is likely the only avenue to actual change…I fear that almost as much as I do an inertial status quo.
        It would be really cool if we could try out different ways of doing things before the real chaos begins(as opposed to the strategic and tactical chaos that is part of the Machinery).

      2. JohnnyGL

        It’s worth noting who Stephen Lynch is.

        A buddy of mine worked in his office years ago for a short time and said there was a contrast between Lynch, who’s staff consisted primarily of working-class kids from South Boston, and most other congressional staffers who are from elite schools.

        Lynch wasn’t “chosen” by party insiders, he’s got a local, often working-class, support base, which is why he’s generally pretty bullet-proof.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Please note the below that Lynch brings up NAFTA and trade completely on his own, unprompted by the questioner….

          On the Democratic Party’s prospects in 2018

          “Hillary [Clinton] won by a million votes in Massachusetts. We got all the electoral votes we could get. But the people we really need to speak to are people in the Midwest and the South, and try to push an agenda that includes them. A lot of those people voted for Trump because their towns, their cities, had been wiped out in terms of jobs by foreign trade. So Trump comes in and says ‘Hey look, I’ll tear up that NAFTA.’ So cities and towns in the Midwest who lost millions and millions of jobs, saw him as their savior. That’s a Democratic idea, and we didn’t talk about that very much in the elections. We talked about ‘We’re going to put coal miners out of work’ — that’s not going to get you a lot of votes in West Virginia and Kentucky, believe me. We lost every single state in Appalachia, and that used to be an area that was really on the side of the angels and acting in their best interests. So we’ve got some work to do, but we’ve got to figure out a way to make the Democratic Party relevant to the lives of working people in the Midwest, and the South, and all over this country — not just the coasts.”

          1. Oregoncharles

            No, it is not a Democratic idea. Not any more. It was before Clinton. This is a big part of my personal history.

            Lynch is indulging in wishful thinking, there.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Is Mass. losing a House seat after the next census, like a lot of the East? If so, expect the Kucinich or McKinney treatment.

      3. KYrocky

        From Atrios today:

        James Thompson, who lost a close special election in Kansas and is again running for the Wichita seat in 2018, said the DCCC is specific about why it wants candidates to raise money. “They want you to spend a certain amount of money on consultants, and it’s their list of consultants you have to choose from,” he said. Those consultants tend to be DCCC veterans. A memo the party committee sent to candidates in December lays out some of the demands the DCCC made around spending.

        The establishment Democratic party is all about pay-to-play, not winning elections, and definitely not what activists think or care about.

        1. Daryl

          Is there a thorough takedown/explanation of all this “consulting” the Democratic party engages in? I remember Mark Penn tanking Hillary’s campaign, and I’ve seen snippets here, but I’m wondering if anyone has done a thorough investigation

            1. Daryl

              I certainly don’t need any convincing, but I was wondering if there’s something to pass along to those who still do things like donating to the Democratic party.

          1. Old Bear

            Nomiki Konst seems to have looked into it to some degree and has some things to say. At roughly 1:30 in this video, she talks about $700-800 million going to 5 consultants (I don’t know if that includes Zac “Say Things Eight Times” Petkanas or not). The original video is here in the first part of her appearance on the Jimmy Dore Show:

      4. dcrane

        That’s interesting to hear, if only because I didn’t receive that email, even though I gave to Sanders many times, a substantial sum. Perhaps this is because I always went through ActBlue. (And perhaps this is why I’m constantly being pestered these days with not-necessary-wanted Democratic candidate emails.)

        Hmmm…yes indeed:

        Well maybe it’s worth it. I unsubscribe from nearly every message with my own message saying I’m not interested in any Democrat that doesn’t put as issue number one the weakening power of ordinary workers against the powerful corporate class (well, that or endless war).

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I get lots of Dem spam at my workplace email account. I did not realise I would get so much of it when I signed up for a few seemingly-interesting Dem sites.

          People told me I could “unsubscribe”. I started doing that over and over, to no effect. Then someone else told me that the various spammers keep spamming regardless. And if they get an “unsubscribe”, that tells them that somebody at the receiving end cared enough to “unsuscribe”. That just inspires the spammers to keep spamming harder.

          When I am back at work from vacation I will work with our IT people to get taught how to set up a self-flushing toilet into which all the Dem spam and the other spam will go as soon as it is sent, without even showing up in my email to begin with.

    2. Clive

      Yes, this is precisely what the U.K.’s Labour Party has had done to it by Jeremy Corbyn’s Momentum support arm. They have sewn up the National Executive Committee (similar to the Rules and Bylaws — probably in fact a lot more powerful) and every local party group which is responsible for winnable seats (which Labour will need to win).

      The Blairites, who were defeated and are predictable in their whining, are invoking Stalin purges narratives but they have simply been outmanoeuvred.

      Left wing Democrats will need to do the same, as you say. But if anything, the rot is deeper in the DNC so they’ll need to be at the top of their game. But, I think, their hearts aren’t really in it.

      1. tempestteacup

        The problem is also that the Labour Party may have been captured and its internal bureaucracy controlled by Blairites since Neil Kinnock successfully marginalised the left in the struggles of the 1980s, but it remained a mass membership party with abiding union links. True, membership declined, but at its lowest ebb it was still, I think, around 150,000. In the long period of Blairite ascendancy, the unions likewise tended to be led by members of the old trade union right – the masters of the late-night meeting, the stitch-up in the selection of candidates, and protecting at all costs their right to at least from time to time get invited to air their views around Westminster. But, and crucially, the membership remained considerably more radical than the party leadership, with complex social and cultural ties to communities everywhere except in Scotland, where the Blairite rot became unstoppable. What this all meant, though, was that when significant numbers of people became politicised during the post-crash austerity years of the Coalition, and the unions began to elect left-wing leaders like Len McCluskey, the Labour Party was still a viable party around which to organise. Blair’s efforts were successful but superficial; his own unchallenged domination of party and policy actually had the effect of narrowing his wider support base, while he and Brown’s paranoia saw a new generation of Blairites fast-tracked up the greasy pole who had none of the acumen, skill or energy of their mentors.

        The Labour Party is the main vehicle for the political expression of working class demands in England and Wales. Its own structures allow for the members to shape its direction – provided they are sufficiently organised and motivated. The Democratic Party is, by contrast, more like the Tory Party – a professional vote-harvesting organisation that makes tactical alliances to other groups when it thinks doing so will be beneficial. It likes to flirt, around election time, with entirely self-serving fictions about being the “party of the people” but it hasn’t been anything of the sort for most of the post-war era, and the aftermath of Clinton’s defeat revealed too that local and state parties are left to atrophy, unable to hire staff or campaign on issues that matter where they’re from.

        The DNC’s lawyers have admitted as much as part of the lawsuit brought against them for hobbling one candidate on behalf of another. Their by-laws aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on since, as a private organisation, those in charge can do as they please.

        Getting to the point – Labour retained the mechanisms for an organised, dedicated affiliate-group and wider left-wing membership to take control. The Democratic Party has no such mechanisms and chooses to exist in a twilit space where it is not exactly one thing or another, a space that perfectly suits the interests of its donors, sinecured consultants, and vote-harvesting politicians. So while I definitely agree with you that an aggressive, organised effort to express collective interests, or get behind left-wing candidates, is a good idea, I don’t see how it could reach the levels of success achieved by Momentum and the Labour left in the UK.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > The Democratic Party has no such mechanisms and chooses to exist in a twilit space where it is not exactly one thing or another, a space that perfectly suits the interests of its donors, sinecured consultants, and vote-harvesting politicians.

          And Flexian activist “cadres” funded by the donor class for vertical “causes,” and not horizontal class interests (or, more to the point, for their own horizontal class interests, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some much more virulent than others, of course, but all punching sideways or down, not up).

    3. Oregoncharles

      ” They also have to get the attention of Democrat cadres.”

      A recipe for futility. “None are so blind….”

      No, they don’t. They have to make them irrelevant, one way or another. Major-party loyalty is now so low that we could end their duopoly, if we really try.

      1. integer

        No! The only acceptable way forward to a fairer and more sustainable society in the US is to take over the D party! Even if this plan perpetually fails, it is the only way! Don’t you know that some people have invested a lot of emotional energy into the D party? How do you think they will feel if some ungrateful group of johnny-come-lately’s successfully start a new party that actually improves the lives of USians, and, by extension, the rest of the Western world? Do you want them to feel like they have wasted their lives? Shame on you.

  3. fajensen

    The European Social Democrats and most of the various flavours of Socialists are very much like the Democrats;

    Always somehow capable of wasting any opportunity of performing their politics and always whining, clutching their prayer-beads and acting totally surprised and outraged when all those Right-wingers and the Neo-liberals that they fail to oppose then absolutely does *Exactly* as they said they would do with their power!

    1. Jessica

      Since this failure of traditional social democrats (including US Democrats) covers almost the entire first world, something must be at work other than simple stupidity, fecklessness, or incompetence.
      To put it simply, the A__hole Theory of History rarely provides useful information.
      which was linked to from here lately, is a good discussion of the underlying social factors.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Deja vu all over again;

        This pamphlet dates from 1914, and as you will see, the more things change the more they remain the same.

        The enemy is perennial, and well organized at all times, we the people on the other hand have short memories and must build our movement over and over from scratch.

        At this point, we’ve only just begun to understand that it’s necessary to act.

        1. Watt4Bob

          While I do believe this 100 year old pamphlet outlines the problem, I was actually looking for another that outlined the agenda necessary to going forward.

          I’ve linked to it in the past, I’ve never found better, and when I find it again I won’t loose track…

  4. Koldmilk

    Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn, Schiff and Swalwell, and every other D who voted for FISA are clearly Kremlin agents and should be treated accordingly.

    i.e. turn their own propaganda against them…

  5. allan

    Neighborhood health clinics popular with veterans face crisis as federal funding evaporates [The Hill]

    … The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, established the Community Health Center Fund to provide money for the operation, expansion, and construction of community health centers to improve access for low-income Americans and veterans who live far from a VA hospital.

    That National Association of Community Health Centers estimates that without new funding from Congress, centers will face an immediate 70 percent cut in funding, resulting in 9 million patients losing care and 2,800 of an estimated 10,400 delivery sites closing. …

    Funding for community health center expired at the end of September along with money for a children’s health program. The bill re-opening the government signed by President Trump on Monday included a six-year extension of funding for the children’s health program known as CHIP, but did not include money for the community centers. …

    The reason the Community Health Centers were not a priority for the Dems in the budget fight is simple:
    they have Bernie’s fingerprints all over them.

    Better to let the CHCs die to support the narrative of “Bernie has never gotten anything done in Congress”,
    even at the risk of convincing 9 million people that no one on either side of the aisle cares about them.

    At this point, the most honorable thing for a progressive to do is quote Zel Miller and walk out the door.

  6. Eureka Springs

    If Trump is indeed a blackmailed agent of Russia, as Nancy Pelosi, surely speaking for Democratic congressional leadership, seems to think, why on earth is Nancy Pelosi handing Trump (and Putin) expanded surveillance power

    This meme was funny and catchy for about two minutes when I first read Greenwald making the point. Maybe someone else made it first, I don’t know.

    But the point should be that no-one should have this power, ever. Not only government, but government should be making sure corporations certainly do not.

    Pelosi, the most prominent Progressive in the nation, has long favored these powers. Bill Clinton, Obama and Hillary certainly did as well. And these powers will remain until the entire D party, it’s way of operating goes the way of the dodo bird. MIC Surveillance must die. This is the source of all our ills. All our lies and mistrust. For it protects itself, lawlessness and the greedy FIRE sector above all else.

    Aside from being too friendly on MIC matters, I have no idea what Sanders position on surveillance matters might be, but he is too close to the Dems for me. If Sanders wants to win, not just the Presidency, but on issues of great import he must run as an Independent. To align in any manner with D’s is just feeding malignancy on so many levels.

    Johnstone and her ilk will be far more credible and properly focused when Dems are no longer seen as any possible part of the solution. She’s still in the bargaining phase and that’s a pity.

    1. Adam1

      An ongoing problem I keep seeing/hearing is the reference to most Democratic party leaders as progressives. They have no real interest in supporting true progressive ideas. They are corrupt to the core politicians with a liberal bend. People have to stop assuming that Liberal & Democrat also means progressive. It doesn’t and people need to stop feeding them their votes and support. Until then they will continue to smash and sabotaging national progressive candidates like Sanders.

      1. Eureka Springs

        I count 76 members in the House. Sanders, the only Senate member. And note that Pelosi is no longer on the list of members. Perhaps this is because of her role as leader of all D’s? One out of 77 prog members is not a D at this time, but he’s at least half a crat.

        Why should anyone make a distinction when the results of Progs calling the D party home and protecting that institution above all their stated issues? Results which have so consistently been neoliberal for so long?

        This is the trap so well described in The Democratic Party Is Not What You Think. If progs are going to fall for and or perpetuate this D-isaster then they deserve the neoliberal moniker as much as anyone.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I live in Grijalva’s district and have this to say: His constituent service is sparkling, wonderful, off the charts. It’s on a par with the service that Gabby Giffords’ office used to deliver.

    2. aliteralmind

      > Pelosi, the most prominent Progressive in the nation…

      I, um, strongly disagree with this statement.

      1. John Wright

        I remember the backstory that Pelosi was working behind the scenes to pass FastTrack for Obama’s TPP with a large enough vote margin that she could publicly vote against it (as her constituents wanted)

        If the very liberal SF bay area produces such neo-liberal politicians as Dianne Feinstein, Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, and Nancy Pelosi where will the true lower case progressives spring from?

        Maybe the unbranded “progressives” will have to come from economically depressed regions of the USA.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          There are progressives geared up to primary both Pelosi and Feinstein, at last count. The problem is, the collusive corporate media make a point of ignoring them, just as they did Bernie. Indeed, there are a whole lot of progressives fighting the good fight, and doing it with no coverage and no Big Money.

          I suspect that’s why Bernie is launching his campaign. He’s as aware of this as those of us who are working down at those grassroots, and he knows if he doesn’t help the DCCC/DSCC/DNC will ensure the primary winners are all more neoliberal corporate shills.

      2. Isotope_C14

        Its unclear if the use of progressive in this case is intended to be insulting or if it is just a mistake.

        A progressive would be Jimmy Dore. Cynthia McKinney, or Susan Sarandon.
        A liberal would be Cory Booker, Bill Maher, or HRC.

        Its the equivalent of saying Ron Paul is the same kind of Conservative as Bill Kristol, or Jamie Dimon.

        I realize everything in the world is Black or White, but sheesh.

  7. russell1200

    I guess I’m in the minority in thinking that shutting down the government over an issue associated with illegal immigration is not a winner. If this issue somehow helps the downtrodden working folks in some way, I’m missing it.

    1. Jack

      No russell1200, you are not alone. I was a Sanders supporter in 2016, and am very much a progressive. Probably too “liberal” for most people. But I agree with you about the immigration issue. In fact, I find it hard to understand why so many Americans think it is ok for people to enter and/or stay in our country illegally. No other country in the world is as lax as the US about enforcing immigration. As far as I am concerned, if you were an adult and entered the US illegally you should go home. Period. Kids that were brought here illegally I think we need to make an exception for. It wasn’t their fault. But…that issue is NOT my number one priority and it certainly is NOT an issue worth shutting the government down, particularly with so many other issues present that as progressives we should be fighting for.

      1. Arthur Dent

        The lawbreaking has two sides. The vast majority of illegal immigrants would not be here if they didn’t have work. If employers who routinely use illegal immigrants were prosecuted, the demand for undocumented workers would drop like a rock and many would likely leave. ICE can do roundups on job sites/farms and detain and deport the illegal immigrants and arrest serial offendor employers.

        The wails and gnashing of teeth will occur about how the poor employers can’t find workers. So then the solution is to either use those roundups to give official status to the workers that are necessary for the US economy or to have the employers pay more money to get workers to do those jobs.

        The wash-rinse-repeat cycle of token roundups and deportations while an entire underground economy based on undocumented workers is flourishing is a highly hypocritical and cynical way to run a country.

        1. Tom_Doak


          Someone should send a TV news crew to the 7/11 that sits on the main road to Southampton, NY. Every morning in the summer, at 5:30 and 6:00, there are dozens and dozens of laborers sitting there waiting to be picked up for landscaping work on the millionaires’ homes. The local contractors choose someone different each day so they don’t have a paper trail of illegal workers, and by this arrangement they can pay peanuts, because the workers have zero leverage. But nobody is getting busted in the Hamptons, because the bankers need their lawns tended!

          1. cyclist

            This is an open secret in many areas. In my area, drive by the corner of Scotland Rd. and Central Ave. in Orange, NJ, any morning. I often ride my bike during the daytime through the quiet back streets in well off neighborhoods in NE NJ (e.g. Short Hills, Summit) and the only outdoor humans you will encounter will all be speaking Spanish, working on lawns or construction. The irony is that some of these towns are solidly Republican.

            I don’t have anything against these guys and I’m sure there is a high level of exploitation.

          2. JohnnyGL

            If you think this is a thing in NY/NJ, go visit a Home Depot or Lowes in Southern CA or practically anywhere in the southwest. Informal day-laborer gathering places have proliferated widely.

            I’ve seen them in Baltimore, MD, too.

            Also, responding to cyclist below,

            OF COURSE they’re Republicans! They’re just Bush/Ted Cruz/Marco Rubio Republicans. They got on the Trump-train relatively late, but they came around.

            As Lambert points out, the white-working-class in the midwest was the swing vote for Trump, not his base. The Repub base, always whiter and wealthier, stayed intact at ~90% voting Trump in the end.

            For me, this was a big lesson of the 2016 election. The gap between the early primary-voting Trump base (anti-immigration, anti-trade) and the rest of the Republican (pro-immigration, pro-trade) base was a bigger deal than I’d realized and probably fueled the idea of a never-Trump-Repub block that was there for the taking by the Clinton-ites.

        2. John Wright

          A few years ago I searched for total USA employer fines for employing illegal workers.

          The total was around $11 million across the entire USA or about $1 per illegal worker per year.

          Probably most businesses would see this as a small business risk.

          If Trump, the Republicans and the Democrats were serious about restricting illegal workers, they would enforce E-verify and SS number fraudulent use.

          The US military is a large employer of workers, so having depressed wages/readily available economically precarious workers lowers the labor cost of the military.

          Cynically, one can say both political parties and their wealthy donors like the results of the current system and will do little to change it.

          1. RUKidding

            Ding! Ding! Ding!

            one can say both political parties and their wealthy donors like the results of the current system and will do little to change it.

            I’d say that’s not so much cynical as reality.

            Again, both parties do this Kabuki Show to pit US citizens against undocumented workers, when all the while they have no true intention of keeping undocumented workers out, much less imposing any real consequences on the business owners who hire them.

            It’s a frickin’ joke, but US citizens are so easily manipulated on this issue.

          2. jrs

            Yea immigration is an ECONOMIC POLICY. That isn’t why everyone cares about it, some ordinary people care for humanitarian reasons, but it is why the powers that be that are no humanitarians care about it. But is it a necessary economic policy? Almost might be at this point considering how many immigrants there are doing so many jobs etc.. But then if so shouldn’t we just make them legal? Perhaps we should. But not making them all legal is ALSO economic policy. They like them right where they are between a rock and a hard place, working but not having any rights.

        3. RUKIdding

          Quite agree. I’ve been saying for years to the point where friends and acquaintances tune me out. It’s a well-known fact that ICE only goes after the illegal workers. Said workers are often recruited, hired and paid to come here by businesses. When ICE comes a-knocking, however, only the workers get deported, and the greedy business owners don’t even get a tap on the wrist.

          It’s well known that Trump hired loads of undocumented workers to build and work in his casinos and hotels. But now, suddenly, he’s all opposed to this practice. Yet I surely don’t see Trump, or any other politician, going after the business owners who consistently hire undocumented workers.

          It’s a sham. All of it. But easy to manipulate a lot of US citizens to be pitted against others living in this country for … reasons.

          Unless or until I see business owners suffering consequences for their illegal behavior, I’ll continue to stay very cynical about this whole topic.

          So easy to manipulate everyone. And really such an easy solution: real, tough consequences for business owners who continue to hire undocumented workers.

          1. xp

            Well, the easiest, most direct solution would be to keep them from entering the US in the first place.

            I don’t see how working at the end stage would be as effective. Why clog up our systems with all of the after-the-fact consequences of illegal entry when it could be stopped right at the source?

            1. RUKidding

              That’s a nice idea.

              Fact: a lot of businesses – particularly construction and poultry processing – recruit undocumented workers mainly in central and south America. How they arrange to get them into this country is anybody’s guess, but they do.

              Fact: a lot of undocumented people cross our borders in various ways. Less so these days, frankly. In fact, I think there’s a bit of reverse migration going on, but I’m too lazy to dig out links to verify this.
              Clue: a big expensive giant border wall won’t keep these people out. Check out all the numerous, very sophisticated tunnels already existing under the various areas of the border that already have walls and extensive border patrols. You think a wall will stop that? Guess again.

              Ergo, I get back to: if there were real, measurable, harsh consequences for those businesses that seek to recruit and hire undocumented workers, then we’d see a whole lot less of it happening. And the impetus for undocumented people to come here illegally would dry up significantly. Perhaps not completely but more than what’s happening now.

              I say: dream big, but let’s get real.

              1. jrs

                Well if there was enforcement on employers there people would start thinking they have the ability to enforce all sorts of laws against employers!!! Horrors! Like people would start thinking the Fed gov has the ability to make employers abide by overtime law and end the massive wage theft of unpaid overtime for even legal wage workers going on. Etc.

            2. whine country

              xp – you’re kidding, right – or you employ those who we are discussing. Come on man – sorry …. person. The evidence is overwhelming: No work, no illegal immigration – but let’s not get confused by the facts.

          2. Amfortas the Hippie

            it’s not just the meat packers and construction companies. nafta killed the campesinos in mexico, all but forcing mexico to buy subsidized US corn. this ruined the rural/ small town economies, and sent a bunch of those folks northward.
            so a good place to start might be reanimating the local economies in the hinterlands of mexico, before we punish the victims of our own policies any further.
            a friend of mine(along with his like 12 kids) has a big family farm just across the border. they spend about half the year here, and half back home down mexico way(all have their green cards, and/or citizenship, after many years of struggle)
            he talks about avocado orchards and such. and when i ask him to bring me back some of that, he says he cannot.
            apparently, one must be a paper person to engage in all this “free trade”.
            my friend and I were cautiously optimistic when republicans, of all people, began questioning nafta.
            we’re not, any more.

      2. animalogic

        I don’t disagree with any of your mentioned details ,Jack — except to ask, “what is a progressive?”.
        I believe the term near meaningless. Progressive has been hijacked by the identity politics crowd and their fellow travelers in the D party.
        Much better I think to come out and say: “I’m a socialist, RED in tooth and claw”
        Things are getting desperate and half measures simply won’t do….

    2. edmondo

      You assume that this was somehow related to “winning”. It’s not. They couldn’t have cared less if they won or lost.The goal was to signal to the Hispanic population that the D’s were on their side. Mission accomplished.

      One cannot be too cynical when watching Chuck Schumer operate. He’s as sleazy as they come.

      1. RUKIdding

        Completely agree. More virtue signaling signifying almost nothing.

        Schmuck Chumer could give a rat’s patoot about anyone except himself. One of the bigger sleazier greedheads in the Senate. Barely outdone in sleaziness by the Turtle, who only beats Schumer by a “hare.” Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

      2. Jen

        Chuck may think “mission accomplished” but those who face the real world consequences, not so much. One has to wonder how many constituencies team blue thinks they can [family blog] over because the moderate republican voters will save them. Even more than they suck at policy, they suck at math.

    3. JohnnyGL

      I’ve been looking for an opportunity to drop the remarks from former Finance Minister of S.Africa and very much a neoliberal in good standing, Trevor Manuel. I remember reading at the time and finding it compelling.

      He pointed out at least as far back as 2007 that the rich world was plundering and poaching the developing countries for their educated workforce because they refuse to invest in their own.

      I’ve found that to be the strongest counter-argument to….

      “but immigrants are coming for opportunities they can’t get at home”.

      “No, you’re hurting those developing countries by stealing their best and brightest. This is a modernized form of colonialism.”

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      For weeks, maybe even months, leading up to the shutdown, the corporate media hammered on “the dire fate of the DREAMers.” Social media were inundated, as the undereducated passed along meme after “news” article after noble post by some politician day after day after day.

      Call me cynical, but the way the apologia for the vote that ended said shutdown exploded out of the gate within hours, if not minutes, after the fact strikes me as just a bit too coincidental. All of the usual suspects were well prepared to ‘splain how the Dems just couldn’t afford to hold things up any longer over an issue that would make a lot of people angry, because “illegal immigrants.”

      Sadly, I see just that happening, but that’s not the point. The point is this strikes me as classic political theater at its finest.

  8. jackiebass

    I think it’s too soon to conclude whether democrats caved and lost the battle. On the surface it appears they did. The deal is for three weeks and I believe this is when we will be better able to judge. I think Schumer , whether by mistake or on purpose, put republicans in a difficult position. Mitch publicly made a lot of promises that will be difficult for him to keep. He has to deal with the senate, which is the easiest thing he has to do. He also has to deal with Trump and the house. Considering the house make up and Trump who doesn’t know where he stands, this is an almost impossible task. Trump changes his position depending with who he last talked to. How can you make a deal with him?The republicans in the house are so divided it’s impossible to get their agreement on almost anything. When things fall apart republicans will not look good because they blamed, promised, and didn’t deliver. You won’t change the opinion of hard core Trump supporters. Independents are the key group. I believe independents actually determine most election outcomes because both parties are about equal in numbers. It’s the real independent vote that determines the winner.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Schumer was Harry’s right hand for years. We have enough data points to judge Chuck.

      1. Jen

        Schumer may have been Harry’s right had, but, Harry, and I say this with respect given innumerable ideological differences, is a complete prick. I remember him telling W, when he sought his advice about nominating Harriet Miers to the supreme court, that she would be a good candidate. Dubbya goes ahead and walks right into the buzz saw. I also remember thinking, when he told Paul Ryan that it would be a good idea for him to run for speaker of the house, that he was giving Ryan the kiss of death.

        Schumer is a tool. McConnell doesn’t give a rat’s derriere about any promises he made.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Keep the powder dry Harry Reid? Really? Reid was a clod.I seriously doubt Harry had a clue the Evangelicals would turn on Shrub over that. As far as the left, the GOP doesn’t care. After all, the result was “Scalito.” I wouldn’t say that worked out for anyone. I guess 43 was embarrassed on the Daily Show over that one.

          As far Paul Ryan, he was Mittens’ running mate to make Mittens intelligent and warm by comparison. Oh and Ryan is still the Speaker.

          1. Jen

            Ryan is still speaker, but he’s not going anywhere else.

            IMO Reid, dry powder and all, possessed a degree, however modest, of feral cunning that Schumer does not, because Reid wanted to be the majority leader. Schumer, again IMO, doesn’t care as long as he’s important.

            Reid was certainly no hero of the left. He also wasn’t damn fool enough to shut down the government over a position he had no intention of maintaining.

            He did put the kibosh on Obama’s grand bargain, for what that’s worth.

  9. Bogdan

    Well, most actual leftists and progressives or whatever they like to call themselves (and with whom I DO agree on most economic and social issues) are shooting themselves in the foot by taking the side of the Democrats on this government shutdown. Put simply, most people think that ALL leftists and progressives are on the side of illegal immigrants by backing DACA and sanctuary cities to the detriment of their fellow Americans.
    It is obvious to see even for people outside the US. You can peruse any rightwing, centrist (but not corporatist) and some leftists blogs or Youtube channels (or alternatives to Youtube which are against censorship) and you’ll see that they consider most (and, in the case of rightwingers and centrists, ALL) leftists and progressives monstrous communists that want to flood the country with illegal migrants to lower wages, destroy American culture and, in more extreme cases, get rid of white people.
    And I don’t really see any pushback. Sure, the things about white genocide and destroying American culture are bullshit (although in the case of the latter there are those engaging in intersectional identity politics who think everything in the West relates to white supremacy so it must be destroyed). But in the case of the first, most people see leftists as acting against the interests of their fellow citizens. And, considering the fact that it is a hot button topic these days, it’s a make or break issue for them.

      1. Bogdan

        Dtube, Vimeo,, Daily Motion. The people that were making good money on Youtube and expressed opinions against intersectional identity politics, censorship or the establishment in general have moved or are moving there and taking their fans with them. Most still maintain a Youtube presence in order to attract more subscribers that might later on or they have some serious backing via Patreon or Paypal.

  10. Wukchumni

    The donkey shows in Tijuana seem more organized than the DC donkey show. They never fail to fail.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “We” keep on presuming, somewhere in our hopeful bowels, afflicted by huge overdoses of Hopium and Hokum, that there is some at least potentially virtuous Golden Rule connection between “Dem”-branded rulers playing the faux-legitimacy game and the nominal constituency that is the lower classes. So what is the suprise that these creatures of vast self-interest and fraud “never fail to fail” the mopery? It’s not a “fail” or loss in any sense for what “we” ought by now to recognize is in fact a monopoly monoparty of great power and wealth. “It’s a private club, and you ain’t in it.”

      We mopes need to recall that in the game among the real players in the Imperial Capital, with all the power that always has heretofore and will likely inevitably always be the case because we are so very human, all the real players are “making out like bandits.” And have discovered (curtesy to Bernays) that for too many of us, playing a few tunes on the Kayfabe Wurlitzer is enough to distract and deactivate us while they continue their looting and destruction.

      So on goes the nattering of the “constitutional peasants,”, even as the oppressing elite rulers are right close to hand, and said peasants have their dibbles and pitchforks and other field implements and a clear and massive numerical superiority. Of course “Dennis,” after the bloody imagined rest of the scene, likely will do a Robespierre, quickly appropriate Arthur’s gory armor, find a stooge among the field hands to operate the coconut-shell horse sound effects, and put the Sacred Sword to work establishing his own caliphate and dynasty (pronounced DIE-NASTY, add brutish and short).

      1. HideNwatch

        They never “win” anything for you, but they’re always “fighting” for you while they fly back and forth on their private jets…

  11. Kevin

    Lesson not learned: “stop looking for the democratic party – there is nothing there – just republicans dressed as democrats.”

  12. david lamy

    @jackiebass: I respectfully disagree with your analysis in that to me the existence of ‘independent’ voters is a myth. These are people that are reluctant to admit their voting propensities.

    Really what remains is a place for people that view both parties with revulsion is a place to go. Establishing that place means clearing some very massive obstacles.
    Ballot access and admission to election debates are for now seemingly impassible hurdles, along with devoiding the ‘free speech’ rights of cash.

    1. Oregoncharles

      OK, that’s a technical question. The barriers to ballot access mostly consist of acquiring a prohibitive number of signatures, sometimes over and over again. There are two solutions:

      One is to have enough supporters to collect those signatures easily. Bernie did, so we know it’s possible. But he didn’t want to do it, suggesting that he supports the basic political status quo.

      Two is to challenge those draconian requirements in court, since they’re clearly unconstitutional. The Green Party did this in Georgia, where we happen to have some vigorous activists (Bruce Dixon and Cynthia McKinney), successfully; the same strategy applies in a few other states. But it takes money, not something alternative parties have a lot of, especially if they’re anti-corporate.

      To repeat myself: the real difference between a “major” party and a “minor” one is a few million people and dollars. Again, Bernie’s movement had more than enough.

      The legal barriers are significant – we fight them in Oregon all the time, and Oregon’s fairly easy; but they can be overcome if the people are there. The real barrier, always, is exactly the kind of thing G.P. said, that it’s “insuperable,” that the duopoly is just the way things are. That’s a classic self-fulfilling prophecy. The hurdle is in people’s heads.

      My fear is that it won’t be overcome until things are so bad that people jump right into the torches-and-pitchforks phase – and that’s an overly humorous way to describe turning into Syria. It’s shamefully close.

  13. Summer

    re 3rd parties:” Both mainstream parties, of course, have solidly closed that door.”

    The day is coming when there will be an avalanche of alt parties. And there will be a third and a fourth party at least. The anger of the population will not subside because they’re still being squeezed.
    After every financial crash, a smaller percentage of people recover each time.

  14. KYrocky

    I am not a fan of the logic used in his set up, but I agree with Gaius’ conclusion. As personified by Wasserman Schultz the DNC was horrific under Obama; it absolutely sucked by any measurement of results. My view was, and remains, that the post-partisan, apolitical persona of Obama was mirrored in the DNC’s utter failures in partisan elections. Money clearly played, and still plays, a large role in this.

    On November 10, 2016 the elections of 2018 started. What does the DNC have to show us for 14 months of work? Have they been setting up ground games in 50 states? Hell no. Are they planning on spending another couple hundred million dollars on consultants? Likely. Does the DNC have either a decent messaging effort or outreach effort that connects today’s progressive activists with the Party? No.

    Same old same old for the DNC. We had a sure thing with Hillary and they pissed that away, but the consultants got hundreds of millions. We have the most God-awful Republican President and Republican Congress in the history of the nation, and the “leadership” of the DNC in any possible movement is non-existent. If any wave develops it will be in spite of the DNC and well less than what it could be if the DNC gave a shit about the Party’s base.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Well, given that the answer to Gaius’s question about who runs The Resistance is clearly “the DNC” for anyone who has been keeping tabs, the answer to the questions in paragraph 2 of KYrocky’s post is, as noted, “no.”

      This week, I received the latest inspirational mailing from The Resistance:

      “Dear Elizabeth,

      “Imagine: a world where Blake Bortles is playing in the Super Bowl, and every car on the highway has a shiny middle finger to Trump planted on its bumper.

      Well… at least we can all still stick a shiny middle finger to Trump on our bumpers, with a Dump Trump Trumper Sticker! Donate $10 or more, or $5/month, to support the Resistance and get your sticker today!

      Trump delenda est,

      The Resistance”

      The bumper sticker, allegedly sponsored by, reads: Dump Trump

      I have received not one single email from The McResistance that offers one single action to confront and eliminated the dangers facing the country. The above it the only message.

  15. RUKIdding

    Of course Big D “lost” this battle.

    Did anyone here seriously doubt that outcome?

    It was a foregone conclusion, imo.

    This is how it ALWAYS plays out anymore. Witness 8 long useless years of the Obamanation Administration.

    Big D is complicit with the ReThugs. They hide behind one another’s skirts and do this ridiculous Kabuki Show pretending that there’s some kind of choice. Certainly there hasn’t been a loyal opposition since at least Reagan Admin. It’s all smoke and mirrors, dog and pony shows. No bread for the peons but plenty of senseless circuses.

    Bah humbug.

  16. HideNwatch

    “Make no mistake. In the world of the betrayed, she is not alone. Some may not sabotage, as she will do. Some may just stay home — with pleasure. This is the fire the Party is playing with.”

    She is not alone. WE ARE LEGION. We, the people born since 1980, have *never lived in a world NOT IN DECLINE*. Do you realize how dark that is, baby boomers whose college tuition and houses cost fractions of what ours do?

    We owe the power establishment that has had its boot on our neck since before we were born nothing, for they have earned nothing, save our contempt.

    1. Oregoncharles

      It would be nice if more of you showed up in meeting and demonstrations. Still too many gray heads. We’re more than ready to hand it over.

      TBF, young people do show up for certain causes, mostly environmental (for obvious reasons). But the followup seems to be lacking.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps the young people are looking around for more effective methods than yet more meetings and yet more demonstrations.

        Perhaps the young people who are “missing” from the meetings and the demonstrations are in fact “present” at other places, doing other things, some of which might emerge into highly impactful effectiveness view in the next 5-15 years.

    1. edmondo

      Someone better tell Bernie before he endorses Cory Booker or Kamala Harris after the 2020 Democratic convention.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Bernie-or-Busters will probably be understanding of Bernie. They may not feel obliged to take his advice. They may well become Beyond-Bernies.

  17. Tomonthebeach

    I do not doubt Perez’ sincerity, only his ability to change the DNC by uprooting it from corporate sponsors and returning it to the people. You do not do that by purging those whose views you wish to ignore – especially if they are telling your something you need to hear. DNC still seems to think; “You people just don’t understand how the world works. We need those big donors.” This despite Sanders demonstrating that to be hogwash.

    I am not yet at Caitlin’s kamikaze stage. At 70, I am okay with seeing if we can just return the deplorables to their basket. [Ironic that Clinton nailed that metaphor.]

    My overarching concern is that under Pelosi and Schumer, even a Democratic Congress is unlikely to repeal the bullshit legislation of Trump’s 1st year, force the Executive branch to enforce consumer protections and sensible responses to climate change and get us the hell out of WW III – the secret war.

    I would like to see a law stripping corporations of their citizenship rights using the rationale of one-person/one contribution/one vote. Then maybe the Supremes will realize that PACs are a threat to democracy.

  18. Louis Fyne

    Bernie was born in 1941, Pelosi 1940 and Biden 1942, Elizabeth Warren 1949, Clintons in 1946/47.

    The Democratic pre- and early-boomers have hung on to the levers of power so long that there is no deep bench of late Baby Boomers or Gen-Xers on the Left. (There’s Tulsi Gabbard, but I wouldn’t call her a national figure. And Obama did nothing to cultivate a new generation of geuine left-wing leaders….just being real)

    But if you want to feel any better, the GOP is mostly in the same shape.

    1. Oregoncharles

      That’s because the DP machine has made a point of keeping them out. That’s their job in the duopoly.

  19. landline

    The forces of capital own both parties. And they won’t give them up. Look elsewhere for social justice. Direct action. Grass roots organizing. Sure, it’s a long uphill battle. Reforming the D’s or R’s is impossible. If you must participate in electoral politics, look for or create new political parties independent of the ruling party with two right wings. If only Bernie (or Jackson before him) had bolted…….

  20. martbev

    Many commentators make interesting points but I think they have tended to avoid the main one noted by Yves in her introduction: the Democrats allowed the Republicans to frame the issue as one of illegal immigration versus child healthcare. They basically accepted this frame. What they should be doing is shouting from the rooftops that the Republicans will take healthcare away from ALL Americans, documented or not — they want to use documentation as a wedge to divide the public and defund all social programs. If the Trump administration decides to deport the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, they will first have to find them. That means spot checks on everyone going to school, to court, to the supermarket — an authoritarian dream. And what is more scary than the crazy who threatens to shoot CNN reporters, is the enthusiasm of ICE operatives to carry out the deportations. What happens to immigrants today will be used against everyone tomorrow.

  21. Les Swift

    Left Twix vs. Right Twix

    I’m a Left Twix man myself. They are delicious, imbued with a progressive taste. Far better than the odious Right Twixes.

    My idiot neighbor is a Right Twix man. He says they taste like freedom, while Left Twixes taste like socialism.

    We both buy the Twix bars, but immediately discard the evil side. We thought about trading my Rights for his Lefts, but that just started another fight.

    1. Objective Function

      Lol, paging Ted Geisel.

      Candy bars, of course, also provided most of us as kids a first object lesson in the ongoing Crapification of Everything (c)

  22. Jim

    Gauis raises the question of whether the Democratic party could ever become “… a true hero of the people–for once.”

    One key to understanding why this can never happen is the recent important research which Lambert has initiated on understanding the nature of the modern Democratic Party structure as well as the extremely insightful framing of that same structure by Sophia Burn in her article “The Democratic Party Is Not What You Think.”

    As Lambert has already mentioned, while Burn’s analysis is at this point in its development overly schematic, her sense that the party is a cadre organization,Leninist in nature, with strong centralized discipline and consequently quite capable of directing itself in a coordinated and disciplined way, appears to my eyes to be right on the money.

    Taking that framing a step further it may also be the case that this tight-knit Leninist vanguard framing also explains the increasing sectarian attitude of that same Democratic Party. It is no longer willing to accept electoral outcomes contrary to its increasingly narrow interests and will stop at nothing to maintain or regain power.

    Is it conceivable that we are witnessing the attempted creation of a new constitutional order in which the party becomes the state, in which the sovereignty of the people is replaced by the sovereignty of the party-state?

    1. Oregoncharles

      this is to say that the DP (this is the way the Communist Party used to be referenced) consists largely of the consultants – it’s a business, as someone else said.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      If Hillary would have won, then yes…I would see an attempt to bring a Big Center Party into the spotlight. Then the Rulers could abandon both the annoying Left and the scary Right, and get down to “getting things done” in a “bipartisan manner”.

      This outlook is assuming that trump was meant by the PTB as a stalking horse for Hil, to make her look good(and to roll back the Teaparty with)….and that him actually winning was as much a surprise to the Elite as it was to us.
      I think that the creation of a “Center Party”(= neoliberal/neoconservative. we need new words) is still likely a goal, if they can only figure out a way to keep the puppet show aspects going for sociial control/distraction

  23. PKMKII

    I would say that some of the establishment democrats are cynical opportunists, screaming about Russians under the bed up until the point that they regain power, at which point they’ll promptly forget about it, just like they forgot about the Bush administration’s war crimes. Others are simply so scared of being accused of inviting ISIS in for tea and cake that they’ll vote for any authoritarian empowerment of the surveillance state. Regardless, evil, spineless, equally good reasons to throw the bums out.

  24. Oregoncharles

    “In fact, many of these voters are solidly in the impossible-to-achieve we-want-a-third-party camp. Both mainstream parties, of course, have solidly closed that door.”

    A self-defeating self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Be careful what you wish for; what’s the alternative?

  25. Oregoncharles

    Thank you, Gaius Publius and Yves, for bringing this up again, even if we disagree on some points. That’s what it’s all about.

  26. Johnny

    I’m to the left of Kucinich. I voted for Trump. I’ll do it again.
    At least Trump makes obvious how broken our politics are.
    Republicans took a chance on a democratically structured primary. Dems did not.
    People voted for democracy. Democracy is the Dems only hope for re-entering the mainstream.

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    Since Gaius Publius writes for Digby Hullabaloo, and Digby Hullabaloo is one of the main blog-exponents of Pink Pussie-Hat NPR-Totebag Liberal gender and racial Identyism as being the way forward for the Democratic Party, I wonder how Digby would respond to Gaius Publius telling her all this directly? Would Digby allow Publius to post this on Digby’s blog? Would Publius even dare make the attempt?

  28. Political Renegage

    If the Democratic party tries to run a pro-establishment presidential candidate in 2020, I, Caitlin Johnstone, promise unequivocally and unconditionally that I will do every single thing in my power to sabotage their candidacy and make them lose the election. … I don’t care if it’s a transgender Muslim eskimo with a Senate seat and their own talk show — I will do my very best to ruin them, and I will do my very best to recruit others like me to help….

    lol I love the part about the transgender Muslim eskimo. That is what the Democratic party does and has been doing for almost 40 years. They dumped the working class under the bus long ago and went all in in betting on the transgender Muslim eskimo route. I do not like the Republicans either but to me the Democrats are the biggest hypocrites.

  29. marcos

    The Democrats are ringers, more a set of lifestyle choices than anything resembling a coherent political party.

    Were the Democrats a political party, they would have shown Reid, Pelosi and Schumer the door after losing close to 1000 elected seats and then the presidency. When Milliband lost to Cameron, Miliband resigned Commons and Labour leadership. When Cameron lost on BREXIT, Cameron resigned as PM and MC.

    Yet the Democrats lose and are kept on, similarly to how their urban patronage clique gets paid to supervise the extirpation of the Democrat voting base from the cities in favor of gentrification and real estate speculation.

    The Democrats also used the urban mayors to violently disrupt Occupy Wall Street encampments while Republicans cultivated the Tea Party and welcomed them in.

    The illusion is that the Democrats and Republicans are relatively symmetrical alternatives. But it turns out that the Democrats exist primarily to intercept and neutralize demands for change from below and to the left so that the Demopublican and Republicrat consensus can proceed unimpeded.

    1. Tony Wright

      Random thoughts and bits of relevent information:
      1. 92% of the wealth created in the US during the 8 Obama years went to the top 1%
      2. Both sides of US politics (? The same side..) support legalising Cannabis, why?
      a. New source of taxes
      b. To slow down both the progressives ( Whatever happened to the Revolution? We all got Stoned and it Drifted Away – Skyhooks, 1975), and dampen down the anger of the deplorables when inevitably Trump disappoints them, i.e. Stabs them in the back , and then walks away to stroke his own ego, or more likely find some compliant female to do it for him…..
      c. Years ago I learnt that everybody has on one level two important psychological/ situational thresholds, i.e. How low will you go before you get off your ass and do something about it?, and How high will you go before you screw up?
      Let us hope that in his callousness, narcissism, ignorance and incompetance Trump triggers mass adoption of the former so as to precipitate a revolt against the self serving big money puppets who currently run both US political parties.
      Just Hopin’…….. But I am glad I live in Australia, for all its faults, not the US

    2. Annonnynonny

      Exactly right. They are the marketing arm of the new world order, always fishing around for another irrelevant wedge issue to divide people so they can corral their sheep into the voting booth while doing nothing for them.

      The optimist in me is increasingly seeing Trump as the enema that washes this nonsense away. He is, of course a dreadful, tacky little bully, but he’s a bully with a well honed instinct for survival and little or no ideological baggage. The PTB are horrified by him but they so lost in the media/consultant/Wall st bubble that they can’t even see that the more they fight him with their faux outrage (the sh**hole fracas anyone) the more they expose themselves for what they are.

      The Dreamers issue was a classic case in point. I suspect that the consultants, pollsters etc all really believed that this was a winning position for them. What about the children!! they wailed until it was pointed out that the dreamers are between 16 and 35 years old now. Then, after NPR profiled a dreamer who became a doctor, Trump aired the ad showing a dreamer in court saying that he was sorry he only shot two cops. And another outlet cited statistics showing that over 40% of the dreamers still don’t speak English – these are people who have been in the US for more a decade. So the easy, but these people came as children meme was – if not destroyed – at least weakened.

      The other “trick” is to label any and all criticism as racist/bigoted/sexist. This, I find to be the most cynical and unforgivable trait of the establishment Dems. And again Trump understands the game this and is playing them at it. The trope that open borders is itself racist is out there and it’s hard to counter. The argument is that lower class blacks are the most damaged by unfair competition in low skilled employment is probably not entirely correct, but it has a resonance.

      Finally the current text/ release the memo fracas is telling. The republicans contend that there is evidence senior members of the DNC, FBI and Justice dept conspired to de-legitimize Trump because he is “a horrible human being”. If only a quarter of what seems to have transpired turns out to be true it will expose the Obama Dems as a party that has zero respect for the democratic process. Indeed, they seem to believe that, because they disapprove of the electorate’s choice they are justified in annulling it. That is genuinely scary.

      1. marcos

        The fact that the United States has run up centuries of debt to black and brown people that it has balked at paying but figures out how to open the doors to immigrants to take scarce public higher ed slots (paying hefty out-of-state tuition) and then normalize their immigration status.

        How about we condition the H-1B visa program on firms educating, grooming and hiring poor people and people of color who have actually been frozen out of the economy and to whom we all owe a collective debt before we invite over company? I’m in post-mid career software and due to H-1B, my salary has remained constant in real terms over my work lifetime. It is clearly more than most everyone else makes. But if salaries are stagnant at the top of the food chain, then that bodes ill for the majority.

        The DNC and ClintonII/Obama Democrats are functioning as designed, acting on behalf of their patrons. They had no compunctions about using the power of the DNC to sabotage Sanders, to violently oppress OWS and to attack anyone who challenged them on this, throwing voters away. They can no longer be called the DemocratIC Party, rather the Republicans were correct, they are the Democrat Party.

        1. Anonnynonny

          Agree again on most of what you just said. I am becoming more and more skeptical of the moral argument “owe so much to black and brown people” and I know i am treading on dangerous ice here, but bear with me.

          First, the US owes a huge debt to the black people broight here as slaves. It owes little or nothing to countries in Africa that willingly sold those slaves. Similarly the US owes Europe nothing because European countries are powerful enough to look after themselves – if they weren’t they wouldn’t exist – however the Us does owe working class white Americans who labored in the northern states’ factories and coal mines to build a world class industrial super power. That debt is being reneged upon right now.

          We are in a ridiculous place right now. We all fell for the Obama hosanna because he is the first black president yards yadda. but Obama’s background and experience has nothing in common with the average African American so it shouldn’t surprise that, apart from a few nice speeches, he did nothing to further real social justice for under educated black Americans that do suffer from the after effects of slavery.

          The fact is, we can read Marx and marvel at his analysis of capitalism without converting to Bolshevism. and Marx nailed the capitalists. It is the rent seeking capitalist that rules now – even Adam Smith warned against them – the use divisive vocabulary to sow dissent and hatred while skimming everything away from actual producers. Unless these capitalists are tamed we are going to collapse. So yes, you are right, the DNC is the rentier capitalists’ stooge, it uses divisive US hating logic to further its agenda and it has no conscience as to the effect of these policies on the local population.

          It has gone too far.

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